Council charges £1,000 for support service

Man with Asperger’s ‘punished for being disabled’ after council charges £1,000 for support service. Steven Oliver uses an outreach service that helped him secure a part time job – but he says the charge means there would be little point in working.

An article in the Daily Mirror shows the increasing concern about rising care charges.

A man says he is “being punished for being disabled” after a council gave him with a £1,049 invoice for the support that allows him to work.

Steven Oliver, 40, who has Asperger Syndrome, had been receiving vital Self-Directed Support (SDS) through an outreach service provided by Autism Initiatives Scotland (AIS). This support has enabled him to work in a part-time job, for five hours a week over the last year. But Steven was told in November last year that Scottish Borders Council would be asking those using the service to pay a contribution to the cost and in May he received an invoice for £1,049.

Steven, who makes £144 a month in his job, said it will take seven to eight months for him to pay the bill off. It means there is little point in Steven working, as he only works a few hours a week. But he has vowed to continue working as it “is a job”. Steven, from Duns, Berwickshire, said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked when I received the invoice. It took me completely by shock.

“When the financial assessment was carried out last year, I, along with many other users of SDS were led to believe the contribution would be a modest one. While I understand that savings have to be made, the council’s attitude – which appears to be one of ‘not our problem’ – is disgraceful. Part of having Asperger’s, it’s like autism, is the intense anxiety of situations like this, so you can imagine how receiving such an invoice made me feel. The fortnightly meetings with my social worker are designed to combat that. She’s really helped me, with practical and emotional help, things I couldn’t do on my own.”

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